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Magic Square

Magic Square

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Published by: fran_gomez_18 on Dec 16, 2012
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Magic square1
Magic square
In recreational mathematics, a
magic square
of order
is an arrangement of 
numbers, usually distinct integers, ina square, such that the
numbers in all rows, all columns, and both diagonals sum to the same constant.
magic square contains the integers from 1 to
. The term "magic square" is also sometimes used to refer to any of various types of word square.Normal magic squares exist for all orders
1 except
= 2, although the case
= 1 is trivial, consisting of a singlecell containing the number 1. The smallest nontrivial case, shown below, is of order 3.The constant sum in every row, column and diagonal is called the magic constant or magic sum,
. The magicconstant of a normal magic square depends only on
and has the valueFor normal magic squares of order
= 3, 4, 5, ..., the magic constants are:15, 34, 65, 111, 175, 260, ... (sequence A006003 in OEIS).
Iron plate with an order 6 magic square in Arabic numbersfrom China, dating to the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).
Magic squares were known to Chinese mathematicians, asearly as 650 BCE
and Arab mathematicians, possibly asearly as the 7th century, when the Arabs conquerednorthwestern parts of the Indian subcontinent and learnedIndian mathematics and astronomy, including other aspects of combinatorial mathematics. The first magic squares of order 5and 6 appear in an encyclopedia from Baghdad
983 CE,the
 Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity
 Rasa'il Ihkwanal-Safa
); simpler magic squares were known to several earlierArab mathematicians.
Some of these squares were laterused in conjunction with magic letters as in (ShamsAl-ma'arif) to assist Arab illusionists and magicians.
Lo Shu square (3×3 magic square)
Chinese literature dating from as early as 650 BC tells thelegend of Lo Shu or "scroll of the river Lo".
In ancient China there was a huge flood. The great king Yu (
) triedto channel the water out to sea where then emerged from the water a turtle with a curious figure/pattern on its shell;circular dots of numbers which were arranged in a three by three grid pattern such that the sum of the numbers ineach row, column and diagonal was the same: 15, which is also the number of days in each of the 24 cycles of theChinese solar year. This pattern, in a certain way, was used by the people in controlling the river.
Magic square2
The Lo Shu Square, as the magic square on the turtle shell is called, is the unique normal magic square of order threein which 1 is at the bottom and 2 is in the upper right corner. Every normal magic square of order three is obtainedfrom the Lo Shu by rotation or reflection.The Square of Lo Shu is also referred to as the Magic Square of Saturn.
Although a definitive judgement of early history of magic squares is not available, it has been suggested that magicsquares are probably of pre-Islamic Persian origin.
The study of magic squares in medieval Islam in Persia ishowever common, and supposedly, came after the introduction of Chess in Persia.
For instance in the 10th century,the Persian mathematician Buzjani has left a manuscript on page 33 of which there is a series of magic squares,which are filled by numbers in arithmetic progression in such a way that the sums on each line, column and diagonalare equal.
Magic squares were known to Islamic mathematicians, possibly as early as the 7th century, when the Arabs cameinto contact with Indian culture, and learned Indian mathematics and astronomy, including other aspects of combinatorial mathematics. It has also been suggested that the idea came via China. The first magic squares of order5 and 6 appear in an encyclopedia from Baghdad
983 AD, the Rasa'il Ikhwan al-Safa (the Encyclopedia of theBrethren of Purity); simpler magic squares were known to several earlier Arab mathematicians.
The Arab mathematician Ahmad al-Buni, who worked on magic squares around 1250 A.D., attributed mysticalproperties to them, although no details of these supposed properties are known. There are also references to the useof magic squares in astrological calculations, a practice that seems to have originated with the Arabs.
The 3x3 magic square was used as part of rituals in India from vedic times, and continues to be used to this day. TheGanesh yantra is a 3x3 magic square. A well known early 4x4 magic square in India can be seen in Khajuraho in theParshvanath Jain temple. It dates from the 10th century.
This is referred to as the Chautisa Yantra, since each row, column, diagonal, 2x2 sub-square, the corners of each 3x3and 4x4 square, the two sets of four symmetrical numbers (1+11+16+6 and 2+12+15+5), and the sum of the middletwo entries of the two outer columns and rows (12+1+6+15 and 2+16+11+5), sums to 34.In this square, every second diagonal number adds to 17. Apart from squares, 8 trapeziums (2 in one direction) andthe others at a rotation of 90 degrees, such as (12, 1, 16, 5) and (13, 8, 9, 4). Apart from trapeziums, 4 triangles arealso present, where 3 numbers connect to a corner, such as the numbers 2, 3, 15 connect to 14 form a triangle. Thistriangle can also be rotated by 90 degrees.
Magic square3The Kubera-Kolam is a floor painting used in India which is in the form of a magic square of order three. It isessentially the same as the Lo Shu Square, but with 19 added to each number, giving a magic constant of 72.
This page from Athanasius Kircher's
Oedipus Aegyptiacus
(1653) belongs to a treatise on magic squares and showsthe
Sigillum Iovis
associated with Jupiter
In 1300, building on the work of the Arab Al-Buni, GreekByzantine scholar Manuel Moschopoulos wrote a mathematicaltreatise on the subject of magic squares, leaving out themysticism of his predecessors.
Moschopoulos was essentiallyunknown to the Latin west. He was not, either, the firstWesterner to have written on magic squares. They appear in aspanish manuscript written in the 1280s, presently in theBiblioteca Vaticana (cod. Reg. Lat. 1283a) due to Alfonso X of Castille.
In that text, each magic square is assigned to therespective planet, as in the Islamic literature.
Magic squaressurface again in Italy in the 14th century, and specifically inFlorence. In fact, a 6x6 and a 9x9 square are exhibited in amanuscript of the
Trattato d'Abbaco
(Treatise of the Abacus)by Paolo dell'Abbaco, aka Paolo Dagomari, a mathematician,astronomer and astrologer who was, among other things, inclose contact with Jacopo Alighieri, a son of Dante. Thesquares can be seen on folios 20 and 21 of MS. 2433, at theBiblioteca Universitaria of Bologna. They also appear on folio69rv of Plimpton 167, a manuscript copy of the
from the 15th century in the Library of ColumbiaUniversity.
It is interesting to observe that Paolo Dagomari,like Pacioli after him, refers to the squares as a useful basis forinventing mathematical questions and games, and does not mention any magical use. Incidentally, though, he alsorefers to them as being respectively the Sun's and the Moon's squares, and mentions that they enter astrologicalcalculations that are not better specified. As said, the same point of view seems to motivate the fellow FlorentineLuca Pacioli, who describes 3x3 to 9x9 squares in his work
 De Viribus Quantitatis
Pacioli states:
 A lastronomiasummamente hanno mostrato li supremi di quella commo Ptolomeo, al bumasar ali, al fragano, Geber et gli altritutti La forza et virtu de numeri eserli necessaria
(The supreme masters of Astronomy, such as Ptolemy, Albumasar,Alfraganus, Jabir and all the others, have shown that the force and the virtue of numbers are necessary to thatscience) and then goes on to describe the seven planetary squares, with no mention of magical applications.Magic squares of order 3 through 9, assigned to the seven planets, and described as means to attract the influence of planets and their angels (or demons) during magical practices, can be found in several manuscripts all around Europestarting at least since the 15th century. Among the best known, the
 Liber de Angelis
, a magical handbook writtenaround 1440, is included in Cambridge Univ. Lib. MS Dd.xi.45.
The text of the
 Liber de Angelis
is very close tothat of 
 De septem quadraturis planetarum seu quadrati magici
, another handbook of planetary image magiccontained in the Codex 793 of the Biblioteka Jagiellońska (Ms BJ 793).
The magical operations involveengraving the appropriate square on a plate made with the metal assigned to the corresponding planet,
as well as

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